New Book – Sheer Abandon by Penny Vinenzi

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Publishing year: 2007

I loved the Spoils of Time Trilogy by Penny Vincenzi, and I’m sure I’m going to enjoy this book as well.

The beginning is quite powerful. A young unnamed woman is flying from Bangkok in August 1986. Under his wide, loose clothes she hides her pregnancy. She hoped to give birth to the baby in Bangkok, but in the weeks she stayed there, the baby decided it wasn’t time yet, and the money ran out. On the plane she starts having contractions, but fortunately, she can hold on until she’s at the airport, and I believe she gave birth to the child in a cleaner’s cupboard and then without apparent remorse she leaves the baby there.

We are then transported to the year before. In August 1987 three English girls meet as they are travelling to Asia before starting university. The girls are Martha, Jocasta, and Clio. Clio is the youngest child and has two other older sisters. IClio wants to study medicine. Jocasta is a blonde, attractive woman who is travelling with her brother Josh, a handsome young man. Their parents wouldn’t let him travel unless she had Josh along, but they plan to go their different ways in Bangkok. Jocasta’s parents are divorced, and she plans to become a journalist one day. And finally, Martha is the daughter of a vicar, and she’s glad to leave the constricted limits of the little town she lives in. Being the vicar’s daughter means that she always draws attention from the rest of the parishioners. Martha’s dream is to study law and become rich. The three girls stay in Bangkok together for three days, and they promise to meet again when they are back in England.

I assume that one of the girls is the mother of that poor abandoned baby. Martha seems to be the more likely candidate for that. She mentions that she doesn’t want children, as her career is going to play a central part in her life. and I think she’s the one who could have reasons to hide her pregnancy, being the vicar’s daughter in a narrow-minded town. I guess that somehow she hooked up with Josh a few months after she first met him, and she got pregnant. I have no reason to discard the others either. Clio could have got pregnant as well, but we are led to understand that she’s plump and not too attractive. And Jocasta could also have been that mother. I believe that the event in the first chapters has some relation with this trip and the three girls we are introduced to, so that’s why I imagine that Josh is the father of the baby.

Then we jump ahead in time. Fifteen years later, in August 2000, we get to see Jocasta. As she wanted, she’s a journalist in a newspaper, in a relationship with Nick, another journalist specialist in political scandals. From the little I’ve read, we get to know that the meeting between the three travelling companions never took place, and Jocasta reflects that they couldn’t have met after the things that happened. So I deduce that after those three days there was something else. We know that Jocasta and Clio travelled together. Could there have been problems there? Or maybe something to do with Josh?

Interesting start. I’m itching to know more and learn who the young mother in trouble is.

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